Sheppard Graduates First EOD Class

Six Sheppard Air Force students graduated from the base's first ever technical training school for explosive devices.  It's a milestone for both the base and the airmen.

It was literally a month ago when a ribbon cutting ceremony took place at the location near the municipal airport and now they're already graduating students.

"When you come into this career field you come in knowing that you're going to help other people," said Vincent Pagano, the EOD Preliminary Course Flight Chief.  He helped lead and train the six men who graduated from the course.

"We're going to learn how to wear a bomb suit, how to operate the robots, they'll see how to use some of the explosive tools that we have," said Pagano.

Focusing on physical training, teamwork, and threatening scenarios, the Explosive Ordnance Course will better prepare all the individuals for the intense curriculum at Eglin AFB in Florida, that's where the men will go to finish their training.

"Once they graduate the school at Eglin they'll go to a unit whether it be the states or overseas and that's where they'll actually get in to the on the job training," he said.

Staff Sergeant Chad Strader was one of the graduates who says despite the dangerous nature of being an EOD technician the job of keeping people safe out weighs the risks.

"It's a good way to help people on the front lines and make sure that men and women get back home to their families and if I could get through this school and help people to get home then I am more than happy to do that," said Strader.

Sheppard will welcome in hundreds of interested candidates every year, but not everyone will succeed and even those who go on to work with explosive devices may not come home alive, it's a choice they're willing to take.

All facets of the enlisted force will come to Sheppard for training and then head to Eglin AFB.  Sheppard officials say they expect to graduate more than 200 hundred candidates within the next year.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6.